Mid-Atlantic Butterfly Field Forecast for the Week of 2018 September 15


Leonard’s Skipper in its expected haunt at Soldiers Delight, MD (Baltimore Co). [2018 September 15, photo by Tom Stock]

HIGHLIGHTS: Leonard’s Skipper (continuing, MD), White M Hairstreak (MD), Great Purple Hairstreak (continuing, MD), Ocola Skippers, Long-tailed Skippers

It appeared for a while that there would be nothing but hurricane-related woe to report, and the uncooperative weather of the past week (Florence aside) meant there were very few reports from the field.  That — and the fact that I’m actually in Oregon at the moment and haven’t been in the field myself in MD this week — makes for a dicey Forecast!

Luckily an intrepid group of skipper aficianados from the Audubon Naturalist Society’s Skipper Boot Camp braved unpromising skies yesterday at Soldiers Delight and the Howard Co. Conservancy to find an abundance of grsss skippers on which to hone their skipper ID skills.  By the sound of things, the skippers were well and truly starved from waiting out the rain, and it took only the barest hint of sunshine to bring them out onto the liatris and composites at Soldiers Delight.  The star of course was Leonard’s Skipper, for which the date is getting late.  The troop also found an assortment of other grass skippers there and at their second site, the Howard Co Conservancy community garden plots, where the standout was multiple Ocola Skippers.  Among the other sightings between the two locations were Common Checkered-skipper, Fiery Skipper (which has had a rather poor flight compared with recent years), and good chances to compare the spectrum of faded Tawny-edged-Crossline-Swarthy Skippers.

Meanwhile, in Frederick Co, a field report also had hundreds of Sachems in addition to Peck’s, Silver-spotted, Dun, and Least Skippers.  On the Eastern Shore and more generally across the region, a late brood of Horace’s Duskywing seems to have replaced Wild Indigo DuskywingCommon Checkered-skipper was also picked up in Dorchester, as was a good flight of Broad-winged Skippers.

Quite a few rather late records were about in Frederick, too, among them Great Spangled Fritillary and good numbers of Summer AzuresPearl Crescents were noted as flying, as was Meadow Fritillary.  Additional late-brood Silvery Checkerspots were reported in various locations; a late Appalachian Brown was seen in Dorchester Co.  Judging from the scarcity of sightings of adults now that should be overwintering, the 2019 early spring Mourning Cloak flight may be skimpy indeed.  A few reports trickled in of the expected late-summer flights of Common Buckeye, American Lady, Snout, Red-spotted Purple, Viceroy and (the ubiquitous this season) Monarch.

Several White M’s were tallied this week, and most field groups had Gray Hairstreak (and some also had Red-banded).  The Dorchester expedition also racked up a fresh Great Purple Hairstreak.  In addition to the azures, a mini-boom of Eastern Tailed-blue seems to be on the wing.

Nothing out of the ordinary was reported for swallowtails or whites and sulphurs. Not a very good year for migrant or irruptive pierids.

NECTAR NOTES:  The A’s have it — asters and (wild) ageratum (Conoclinium).  Also various Eupatorium clan flowers, goldenrod, wingstem and other composites like tickseed, and a surprisingly nice late flush of clovers in many places that owes its existence to the favorable — for clover — rains.

CALENDAR NOTES:  The season is sort of winding down, but you can always check out the LepLog Calendar for any upcoming events.

SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING:  We may actually see some sunny weather toward the end of this week, so if you find yourself in the field, share any lep observations you make with us by leaving a comment on this post here at https://leplog.wordpress.com/ or by posting to Google Groups at MDLepsOdes.



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